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Baked Crab Legs (With Garlic Butter or Cajun Butter)

Baked Crab Legs (With Garlic Butter or Cajun Butter)

Just say “no” to the all you can eat crab legs spread and prepare a gourmet dinner, full of baked crab legs with garlic butter sauce or cajun sauce, at home in as little as 15 minutes. This crab leg bake recipe can be used for Alaskan King, Snow Crab or even Dungeness Crab.

Cooking Crab Legs

Oven baked crab legs are quick and easy to prepare as most crab, sold at the grocery stores, is already pre-cooked. They’re either frozen or thawed after being frozen. The exception to this law are live crabs, obviously.

Essentially you’re adding flavor and heating them back up to enhance the natural flavor. Here are the most popular options to consider:

Alaskan King Crab Legs

The creme de la creme, baking baked King Crab Legs is the perfect holiday or special occasion meal. These legs are pricey, but have a ton more meat than the other types listed below. They’re typically sold as individual legs vs a cluster. Check out wikipedia to see how huge they are!

Snow Crab Legs

Baked snow crab legs are our go-to for most occasions. They are more economical than Alaskan King and easier to find in-stores. They’re typically sold as a cluster of crab legs.

snow crab clusters on a baking sheet.

Dungeness Crab

Dungeness is similar in flavor to Alaskan King Crab, with much less meat due to the smaller leg size. You can often find them sold as a whole vs individual legs or clusters.

Blue Crab

The Blue crab is an east coast specialty, in season between April – December. These are actually sold whole due to their small size. But this recipe will still work, if that’s what you’re working with.

How To Cook Crab Legs In Oven

Only a few short steps stand between you and seafood goodness.

  • Preheat the oven on 375°F.
  • Place the legs on a baking sheet, not overlapping if possible.
  • Bake for 10-20 minutes (varies on size of legs)
  • Remove from the oven and serve with your seafood dipping sauce!

How Long To Cook Crab Legs

It takes just 10-15 minutes for smaller crabs and 15-20 minutes for larger legs. Once they’re steaming and warm throughout they’re ready to go. If they’re not fully thawed, it will take a few extra minutes. It takes as long as it does to make Baked Lobster Tails.

How to Know When They’re Done

When making crab legs in the oven, check the color of the flesh for color to ensure it’s heated through out. It should be pearly white and opaque. Don’t go by the exterior color as it’s not an accurate indication of temperature.

crab legs with butter, garlic and lemon.

Frozen Crab Legs

It’s best to thaw frozen legs before cooking. If cooked from frozen the excess water will release and create a water logged crab leg instead of a nice baked version.

How to Thaw

As with other meat, the ideal way to thaw is in the refrigerator overnight. They need a minimum of 8 hours and will last 1-2 days once thawed.

Crab Seasonings

There are a few popular seasonings to use to add an extra layer of flavor. Old Bay seasoning is the go-to if you’re going cajun while a nice shake of salt and pepper would go a long way.

If you’re serving the cooked crab with a flavorful dipping sauce, no extra seasoning is needed.

Crab Sauces

Hands down, there are two juicy crab sauce recipes we prefer when making snow crab clusters:

Garlic Butter Sauce

Garlic butter sauce is our favorite for seafood! Make extra and brush some on before baking.

White ramekin of dipping sauce for seafood.

Cajun Sauce

Add some kick to your cajun crab legs by making cajun sauce to dip it in. You can also brush a bit on before baking.

Bowl of spicy butter sauce.

How To Serve

If you don’t want to make a seafood dipping sauce, just serve with melted butter (or ghee) and lemon wedges.

How to Eat Crab Legs

Alaskan King Crab Legs – Take a sharp pair of kitchen scissors and cut down the length of the leg. Gently pull open the cut shell to expose the delicate meat.

Snow Crab Legs and Claws – Snap the individual legs from the cluster and break into two (at the joint). Use a sharp pair of kitchen scissors or a crab cracker to crack open the shells. The meat will slide on out. Use a small seafood fork to get to the meat in the cluster.

How Much Crab Legs Per Person

Wondering how many crab legs per person to serve? We recommend 12 oz. for Alaskan King per person and 16 oz. for Snow crab per person. 

Crab legs on a baking sheet with garlic butter.

Expert Tips

  • Use a crab cracker, nut cracker or mallet to crack open the shells. Even sharp kitchen shears will work. Avoid using a knife if at all possible. That’s an accident waiting to happen.
  • Crab meat is excellent hot and cold!
  • Use the leftover meat to make Kani Salad or Temaki Sushi.
  • Set the timer for the low end of the time range and check to see how the legs are doing at that time. You don’t want to overcook them.

Sides For Crab Legs

These are our favorite side dishes for crab legs:

Baked crab legs on a baking sheet with butter and lemon.
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Baked Crab Legs

Just say "no" to the all you can eat crab legs spread and prepare a gourmet dinner, full of baked crab legs with garlic butter sauce or cajun sauce, at home in as little as 15 minutes. This crab leg bake recipe can be used for Alaskan King, Snow Crab or even Dungeness Crab.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Christmas Recipes, Crab Legs, Crab Recipes
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 381kcal
Author: Darcey Olson
Cost: $30

Ingredients

Snow Crab Legs

  • 2 lbs Snow Crab Legs, Thawed
  • Melted Butter and Lemon Slices, For Serving

Alaskan King Crab Legs

  • 1.5 lbs King Crab Legs, Thawed
  • Melted Butter and Lemon Slices, For Serving

Optional Dipping Sauces

Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven to 375°F.
  • Place thawed crab legs on a parchment lined baking sheet, ensuring they don't overlap (if possible).
  • Transfer to the middle rack of the oven and bake:
    Snow Crab: 10-15 Minutes
    Alaskan King Crab: 15-20 Minutes
  • Remove from the oven when hot throughout and serve immediately with melted butter and lemon wedges or a dipping sauce.

Notes

Nutritional information is for 2 lbs of snow crabs with no dipping sauces or seasonings.

Nutrition

Calories: 381kcal | Protein: 83g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 0.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 191mg | Sodium: 3792mg | Potassium: 925mg | Vitamin A: 109IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 209mg | Iron: 3mg
Recipe Rating




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